Beautiful white-sand beaches aren’t all the city of St. Augustine has to boast about. This rich coastal paradise’s origins date back to the arrival of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1565, laying claim as the oldest city in the United States—and with the stunning Spanish colonial architecture and 17th-century stone fortresses to show for it. Find your next one-of-a-kind adventure by stepping back in time at living museums like Castillo de San Marcos and lazing along the golden sands of St. Augustine Beach.
We asked our team at Vacasa for their top things to do in St. Augustine, Florida. Here are our recommendations for where to eat and stay, what to see, budget-friendly activities, and even fun things to do with kids. Book your stay, pack your bags, and get ready to relax—we’ve got your St. Augustine travel plans on lock.
After catching a gorgeous beach sunrise, it’s time for breakfast. Start your day with a fresh mimosa, hot coffee, and famous Frittaffle at Maple Street Biscuit Company, which offers Southern comfort foods and homemade biscuit dishes for breakfast and lunch. When 5 o’clock rolls around, you’d be remiss without hitting happy hour by the water—which makes Beachcomber St. Augustine the perfect stop. Resting right on the sands of St. Augustine Beach, the cafe features food, beach snacks, and ice-cold cocktails for an afternoon refresher. When you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille for dinner to take advantage of the area’s deliciously fresh seafood or New Orleans-inspired jambalaya.
A must-see during your stay is St. Augustine’s Historic District. Situated in the heart of the city, it’s home to a wealth of museums and historical sites that you can sightsee on foot or on the Old Town Trolley tour. If you go by foot, make sure to stop at the Lightner Museum, Potter’s Wax Museum, and the Mission Nombre de Dios Museum for a mix of historic antiques, famous wax look-alikes, and the Mission’s scenic walking grounds with peacocks and live cannon firing. In between trips to the beach, sample spirits from the St. Augustine Distillery and make the climb up for panoramic coastal views at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum.
The city of St. Augustine offers the perfect chance to sneak in a history lesson or two in between activities. Bring your adventurers to taste the legendary natural springs at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, where they can also watch a live blacksmithing exhibit and follow roaming flocks of peacocks. For more living museums, your kids will love the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum and the Castillo de San Marcos’ weekend live cannon firing. Once they’ve had their fill of history, make exciting memories at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, where they can dare to zipline over the park or get a closer look at Florida’s famously scaled and toothy reptiles.
If you’re looking to stay on budget, there are still plenty of inexpensive ways to enjoy St. Augustine. Get a true feel for the city and sightsee historical sites with a walk down St. George Street in the Historic District. The street will bring you to the Colonial Quarter, where you can often catch free live music performances while you sit and enjoy the bustle of the city streets. For a break from the crowds, head to Anastasia State Park for more than 1,600 acres of beautiful beaches, sand dunes, and marshes. Cool off in the designated swimming areas, bike along the shoreline, birdwatch the coastal ecosystems, or take to the waters by the kayaks and paddleboards available for rent.
Book your stay and step back in time with St. Augustine vacation rentals. Whether it’s a townhouse in the historic downtown or a family beach house with a little more privacy, there’s no shortage of perfect stays to admire St. Augustine’s vibrant city and pristine shores. Search by amenities like oceanfront, direct beach access, or pools and hot tubs to find the perfect home base for your beach retreat.